A lot has been said, and volumes written, on the importance of thoroughly understanding your business competition- with the aim of faring well against them. But here’s the truth; if you are up against organisations with really deep pockets and access to the best talents, there isn’t much you can do. As Mark McNeilly puts it, business is a kind of war. Businesses in fierce competition are front-row actors in this war. And this war claims casualties daily- lots of casualties.
What if there’s a better option? No, it’s not competing with price. Price wars are always a terrible idea. As the saying goes, in a price war, even when you win, you lose.
So what if you could outsmart your business competition by eliminating the idea of a competition in the first place, and making them irrelevant?
The good news is you absolutely can! Read on to learn how.
1 – Find Your Blue Ocean
In their best-selling book, “Blue Ocean Strategy”, W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne share a business theory that suggests
Companies are better off searching for ways to gain uncontested market space than competing with similar companies.
They posit that organisations would fare better if they stopped trying to find breathing space in crowded markets and, instead, shift to discover or create an untapped market, away from providing what people want, to creating what people need but may not know yet. This strategy is essentially the simultaneous pursuit of high product differentiation and low cost, thereby making business competition irrelevant. To discover a blue ocean, Kim and Mauborgne suggests that businesses must consider ‘Four Actions Framework’ to reconstruct buyer value elements in crafting a new value curve. This framework poses four key questions:
- Raise: What factors should be raised well above the industry’s standard?
- Reduce: What factors were a result of competing against other industries and can be reduced?
- Eliminate: Which factors that the industry has long competed on should be eliminated?
- Create: Which factors should be created that the industry has never offered?
Henry Ford didn’t breed faster or more resilient horses. He made cars. Canon killed a 128-year old behemoth. They didn’t produce better film photography. They produced digital photography. Whatsapp didn’t make messaging cheaper. They made messaging free, interactive, immersive, work across mobile platforms and all without ads.
2 – Empower Those Integral to Your Success
People are important. This simple truth cannot be over emphasized. No matter what you do really, if those around you and those that play any real role in the development, production, distribution et cetera, of your project do not put in their very best or, worse still, are intent on sabotaging you, you will fail; and your competition will be the last thing on your mind. What you want to do is win the war without- not start a war within, or get caught up in unresolved issues. Get your house in order. Invest in your staff and team, create a cordial relationship with your suppliers, show appreciation to your marketers and distributors. Oh yes, your neighbours too. Do not forget your neighbours. If you have people around you committed to your success, you are half-way there.
3 – If It Has Been Done, Do Not Do It Again
There are many ways to get rid of your business competition. Doing what one of them has already done is not one of them. If a really brilliant idea occurs to you, there is a high possibility it has occurred to some other people too. It just may not have been implemented. If it hasn’t, you’re in luck. You have the first mover advantage. If it has, go back to the drawing board and tweak again and again until you find something unique. Whatever you do, it is important that you take care to ask pertinent questions of the market and make detailed research. And when you get your answers, act boldly, act swiftly. You do not smash your competition by sitting on the fence and prevaricating. As the latin proverb goas, audentes Fortuna iuvat– Fortune favours the bold.
If you follow these steps every step of the way, there is no reason why you would not totally smash your business competition and get ahead in this interesting world of entrepreneurship and business.